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This Map Reveals the Most Educated States in the U.S.

Baltimore | Shutterstock
Baltimore | Shutterstock

As a state, it's always good to be known for something. Ideally, of course, that something is a good thing (sorry, Florida). For example, having a reputation for being home to a population that's disproportionately more educated than the rest of the country? That's something most places would kill to brag about. 

But, which states can lay claim to such prestige? Well, it just got a bit easier to tell thanks to a new comprehensive analysis that identified the most educated states in America.

This new bit of education intel was revealed by the folks at WalletHub, who just unveiled their findings in a new study on the education levels of each state in the country. To determine this, the team looked at a wide swath of factors across two key categories: educational attainment and quality of education. Specifically, they graded each state by 20 specific metrics, from the share of adults over 25 with varying levels of college education, to projected graduation rates, to the quality of school systems there. Then, they assessed the grades for all 50 states and ranked them accordingly. 

In 2019, the most educated state in the country was found to be Massachusetts, followed by Maryland, with Vermont taking third place. If you're curious where your state lands in the bunch, here's how the full ranking shook out.

50. Mississippi
49. West Virginia
48. Louisiana
47. Arkansas
46. Alabama
45. Kentucky
44. Nevada
43. Oklahoma
42. South Carolina
41. Tennessee
40. New Mexico
39. Texas
38. Idaho
37. Indiana
36. Arizona
35. South Dakota
34. Missouri
33. Georgia
32. Ohio
31. North Carolina
30. Michigan
29. Pennsylvania
28. Florida
27. Alaska
26. Iowa
25. California
24. Wyoming
23. North Dakota
22. Nebraska
21. Rhode Island
20. Wisconsin
19. Kansas
18. Montana
17. Maine
16. Delaware
15. Illinois
14. Hawaii
13. Oregon
12. New York
11. New Jersey
10. Washington
9. Utah
8. Minnesota
7. New Hampshire
6. Virginia
5. Colorado
4. Connecticut
3. Vermont
2. Maryland
1. Massachusetts

Source: WalletHub

Geographically, you'll notice that states in New England, the Eastern Coast, and the West/Midwest tend to be among the most highly educated in the country. That's not to say that certain states that didn't make it into the top 10 shine in other areas. For example, Montana (18) took the number one spot for highest percentage of high school diploma holders. 

It's also worth noting that while certain states may be most educated overall, they don't necessarily match up with the individual US cities that count themselves as the same. For instance, Ann Arbor, Michigan was determined as the most educated city in America, though Michigan overall sits in 30th place in this latest ranking.

That's all to say that being in a place where the bulk of your neighbors are highly educated may be cool, but it doesn't mean they're the happiest. So, if that's what you're after, may we suggest taking a peek at this.


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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. Follow him @jwmcgauley.